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Quirinius

(706 words)

Author(s): Schwartz, Joshua
Publius Sulpicius Quirinius (c. 51 BCE–21 CE) was a Roman aristocrat who was appointed legate of Syria after the banishment of the ethnarch Herod Archelaus in 6 CE. Judaea subsequently came under direct Roman rule as Provincia Iudaea. Coponius was appointed as prefect of the new province. According to Flavius Josephus, Quirinius, as legate of Syria, was instructed to carry out a census of the province of Iudaea, signaling the imposition of Roman taxes and the official subordination of that province (Jos. Ant. 17.342–344; 17.354–355). The census at first aroused a great deal o…
Date: 2020-09-21

Temple, Jerusalem

(6,748 words)

Author(s): Schwartz, Joshua
The Jerusalem Temples were built on the Temple Mount (Mic 4:1; m. Mid. 1.1–3; 2.1–2). The Temple Mount is a hill located in the present-day Old City of Jerusalem, in the northern portion of a very narrow spur of hill that slopes sharply downward from north to south, rising above the Kidron Valley to the east and Tyropoeon Valley to the west. In Hebrew it is known as Har Ha-Báyit, or “Mount of the House (of God).” This entry will mostly deal with the Jerusalem Temple and Temple Mount of the Herodian period. This was the period of the Jerusalem Temple in its glory,…
Date: 2020-09-21

Bethany

(1,740 words)

Author(s): Schwartz, Joshua
Bethany ( Bethania) is identified with the town of Al-Azariya in the West Bank, on the southeastern slope of the Mount of Olives and to the east of Jerusalem. The place name might be derived from Beth Ananiah, a site mentioned in Neh 11:32 and located between Anatoth and Nob to the east of Jerusalem (Murphy-O’Connor, 2013, 86) or from beth ’ani in Hebrew or beth’anya in Aramaic, meaning “house of the poor.” The latter etymology could indicate that Bethany was the site of an almshouse (Capper, 2006, 496–502). The Arabic means “place of Lazarus” (see below).One Bethany or Two?The Gospel of John…
Date: 2020-09-21

Nazareth

(2,246 words)

Author(s): Schwartz, Joshua
The ancient village of Nazareth was located in a small valley in Lower Galilee surrounded by hills on all sides. It was set back from major roads in the vicinity and therefore somewhat secluded. The nearest city was Sepphoris, approximately eight km away. The soil of the Nazareth valley was fertile, the climate was good, and chalkstone provided building material for dwellings and cisterns. There were several springs and wells with the best-known one emerging some 150 m north of what would become Mary’s Well. The ancient village developed some 500 m southwest of that spring.Nazareth is not…
Date: 2020-09-21

Palestine

(3,745 words)

Author(s): Schwartz, Joshua
The name Palestine is sometimes used to describe the geographic area of the eastern Mediterranean region comprising parts of modern-day Israel and the Palestinian territories of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (for geographic usage, see Israel). The present entry will deal with the ancient usage of the term Palestine, although at times it will be necessary for comparison and explanation to juxtapose it with the geographic entity Israel.Palestine reflects the Greek form ( Palaistinē) of biblical peleshet ( Prst/Plst of ancient Egyptian texts; Pilišti/Palaštu of Assyrian sources)…
Date: 2020-09-21

Israel

(5,157 words)

Author(s): Schwartz, Joshua
The Land of Israel is more of a geo-historical concept than a defined stretch of land lying within clear geographical boundaries or stable political borders. It is also a land of many names such as, in addition to Israel or Eretz-Israel (“Land of Israel”), Canaan, Judea, the Land of the Hebrews, Zion, the Holy Land, the Sacred Land, Palestine, the Promised Land, the Land of the Deer, or even just the Land (Biger, 1989). The name Israel at first just designated those areas populated by Israelite …
Date: 2020-09-21